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RIF6 Cube review: A pico projector worth buying?

3.5

The Good

  • Excellent build quality
  • Easy to use
  • Portable

The Bad

  • Resolution could be better
  • Pricey

In our RIF6 Cube review, Ben Griffin investigates the merits of having a 2-inch mobile 'pico projector' capable of up to a 120-inch image, including a look at picture quality, battery life, resolution and value for money.

RIF6 Cube review: What does it do?

The RIF6 Cube is a mobile DLP projector that projects an 854x480-pixel image onto a wall at up to 120 inches in size and has an internal battery so it can do the job without being plugged in.

Measuring 2x2x1.9 inches, the RIF6 Cube is faithful to its name and can be easily carried about, although some of its rivals are flatter and therefore more pocketable. But when you consider the tripod, you will probably always need a bag to carry it around.

Battery life is up to 90 minutes and a wall charger/USB cable combo is included to top it back up, while content can be played from a mobile phone, tablet, games console or SD card.

You can connect the RIF6 Cube to a smartphone, but it will only work with MHL-enabled devices (a list of supported devices can be found here). Assuming it is, you can plug into the HDMI or mini HDMI port and it will project what you can see on screen.

It comes with a tripod that has bendable legs, making it competent at keeping the RIF6 Cube steady no matter where you are. Think of it as a bit like those Goby flexible tripods you can buy for cameras.

Because it uses LEDs to light the image, the RIF6 Cube is said to be good for 20,000 hours – roughly 833 days solid of viewing time, to be all precise about it.

RIF6 Cube: Build quality?

It is hard to miss the fact you get a lovely slice of aluminium that has been folded around the device, providing a quality feel and stability. Looks great, too. Black plastic adorns the other two sides where you can plug devices in and this looks slightly less appealing.

There is a low quality plastic wheel for adjusting the focus, which is fiddly to use, but the lack of sharpness is more the fault of the sub-HD resolution (more on that later), but otherwise the RIF6 Cube comes across as a premium bit of kit.

We particularly like the attention to detail such as the soft padding in the tripod mechanism that keeps the RIF6 Cube firmly in place without causing damage. It really is, by and large, an over-engineered bit of kit.

RIF6 Cube: Any good for video?

If there was ever a case to be made for increasingly short movies, it is the fact the RIF6 Cube runs out of juice after around 90 minutes, meaning you will need to plug it in to finish Titanic. No problem if near a plug or you prefer to watch typically shorter television shows, mind you.

The 50-lumen brightness is below what some would deem acceptable, but we found it worked in a room with a relatively dim bedside lamp on at around 20 inches from the target surface and around 30 inches away in a dark room.

The 854x480-pixel resolution means the RIF6 Cube will make films look much blurrier than you are used to. Being below full HD and even HD ready televisions is easily noticeable in a time of high-resolution tablets, smartphones and laptops.

With that said, projecting the latest House of Cards episode onto the ceiling while lying in bed is pleasing and it is bizarre how quickly your brain stops complaining about clarity and instead concentrates on what you are actually viewing.

Plus if used in, say, a tent on a rainy day we doubt anyone will complain too much. And let's refrain from ignoring the fact it offers a large image you can play from your phone. That is pretty neat.

A headphone jack lets you listen to whatever you are watching without disturbing others and it is worth using it as the in-built 1-watt speaker is poor at best. Tinny and shrill without much in the way of volume. You could also hook up some speakers if there are multiple viewers.

RIF6 Cube: What about gaming?

If you simply want a large image to look at, the RIF6 Cube will do the job but it is more suited to retro games, mobile games and other lower resolution sources. 1080p games are going to lose the clarity when downsized to its resolution and make it harder to play them, particularly if accuracy is important.

With that said, a low-resolution display is better than none at all and transporting the RIF6 Cube to a friend's house for some multiplayer local area network (LAN) gaming fun is going to be much easier with a small metal cube and a few cables than a whole television or three.

RIF6: What about the competition?

There are a few around this price range. One of the most capable is the 0.5x2.5x5.9-inch Celluon PicoPro, which has a longer battery life and a laser image that never needs to be focussed, but lacks the same pleasing aesthetic and has a lower claimed lumen brightness.

RIF6 Cube: Any negatives?

There is a quiet but constant hum generated by the RIF6 Cube's fan, which is great because it signifies it won't burst into flames anytime soon but a bit of a pain when the movie or game you are playing goes quiet. Obviously this is a non-issue if using headphones.

Then there is the lack of wireless connectivity, meaning you always need to bring cables along unless using the SD card slot. An odd ommission at this price, we must admit. A tad longer battery life would be a plus, too, although the trade-off would almost certainly be portability.

Unlike some of its competitors, such as the Celluon Pico Pro, there is also no wireless functionality so you will need to plug devices in physically. If you want to hook up an iPad or iPhone, expect to fork out £49 for a Lightning Digital AV adapter or buy the same one from Amazon UK for a tenner less. 

RIF6 Cube: Should I buy it, then?

The RIF6 Cube is well worth a look if build quality and portability are chief concerns because its closest rivals are somewhat nastier in terms of design and finish and televisions are difficult to lug around. For a higher resolution, you will need to go for a larger, less pocket-friendly device.

As such, we could see the RIF6 Cube going down a treat for those who like to stick to hand luggage and need to do the odd presentation, or perhaps someone who travels a lot and wants to keep up to date with the latest show, but fancies a bigger display than a phone or tablet offers.

Even though the RIF6 Cube has its share of faults and is pricey, we rather enjoyed watching the odd movie in a room devoid of a television (by choice) and its well-thought out tripod makes that easy. Plus there is something nostalgic about picture quality from yesteryear – even if it is jarring at first.

£269.95, Amazon.co.uk

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